Walgreens is embroiled in a legal dispute with interactive display company Cooler Screens over the alleged failure of a technology test involving digital screens on cooler doors.
In June, Cooler Screens filed a lawsuit in Illinois Circuit Court for Cook County alleging that Walgreens breached a contract signed in 2018, obstructing the intended nationwide rollout of the company’s interactive screens. But in response to the lawsuit, Walgreens contends that Cooler Screens’ technology was ineffective, leading to the termination of their agreement, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Walgreens is trying to deflect attention from its poor retail performance by falsely blaming others for its problems and poor stock performance,” Cooler Screens said in a statement to Entrepreneur.
In 2018, Walgreens began testing the digital doors and initially allowed the installation of 10,300 screens in 700 stores, with a contract for Cooler Screens to install their product in an additional 2,500 stores, per the lawsuit.
But, according to court documents in response to Coolers’ lawsuit, Walgreens claims that Cooler Screens’ technology, which features sensors and digital screens that display advertisements on cooler doors, has faced numerous technical problems since it was implemented in 2018, including freezing screens, incorrect product displays, failure to update stock data accurately, and safety concerns such as screens sparking and catching fire, according to Walgreens.
“Customer experience is a top priority for Walgreens, and we terminated our contract with Cooler Screens earlier this year due to their failure to meet contractual obligations,” Walgreens senior communications director Emily Hartwig-Mekstan told the WSJ.
“The doors’ digital screens regularly froze or went dark, preventing customers from seeing what was available inside, and some even sparked and caught fire”https://t.co/En4kL4mm3g
— Ryan Barwick☕️ (@Ryanbarwick) October 2, 2023
In the original lawsuit, Cooler Screens is also claiming that Walgreens’ former CEO, Roz Brewer, reportedly made comments about the look of the screens, calling them “‘Vegas’ in a derogatory way,” according to court documents.
“Walgreens’ former CEO simply didn’t like the appearance of the doors, an opinion that was not shared by other senior management of the company,” the company added in its statement. “When she realized that her opinion on how the doors looked was not enough to get out of the contract Walgreens had entered into with Cooler Screens, she and her team began to fabricate excuses.”
The lawsuit, initially filed in June, seeks $200 million in damages.
Entrepreneur has reached out to Walgreens for comment.